Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two items in the Asbury Park Press

The APP published a brief 3-paragraph write-up, summarizing what was essentially posted here yesterday about the possible security and financial audit by the feds into the Laurelwood housing issue. Otherwise, a Long Branch resident submitted a letter to the editor, published on Tuesday, offering a preposterous (based on erroneous observations) notion that Colts Neck and Tinton Falls should float bonds to buy out the Laurelwood contract.

It is hard to fault people for coming up with new ideas on how to handle this debacle (i.e. putting veterans in the houses), but on the other hand it is insulting when people do not understand the underlying issue or spend the time to read the (mostly incomplete and sometimes erroneous) documents put forth by the U.S. Navy and research the issue - that the Laurelwood housing debacle was thrust upon the local towns (and the state) as a result of an ill-conceived privatized military housing business model that falls short on so many fronts and no longer functions in a post-9/11 world.

NOPE is not picking a fight with nor disrespecting the efforts of our respected military, particularly at Earle, where its servicemembers and participants are ingrained in the local community. Our District 12 politicians are not "unfairly critical of the Navy" (to quote the letter to the editor), which is playing a game of chicken with the developer (Laurelwood Homes, LLC) - much to the chagrin of citizens concerned about this issue - in order to either a) bring down the developer's buyout price, or b) attempt to bankrupt the developer (who must fund the road construction and home renovation costs). I mean the U.S. Navy cannot be that oblivious that it wants to distract the true mission of the base or increase threats against a vital base...

Banging the drum again, the bottom line is that, contrary to the letter author's point that there hasn't been a security breach at Earle since 1943, that a) there was a cyber-breach that compromised Earle's computer network for about a month near 9/11; b) the base in 2005-06 reportedly failed readiness drills with flying colors; and c) in late-2008 the Inspector General found Earle's oversight of contract security guards substandard.

Just because something has not yet happened does not mean it will not happen. Remember, two commercial airliners were flown into the World Trade Center, and Fort Dix was this close to a domestic terror attack, largely a result of freeflowing civilian access to that New Jersey base. Why invite the threat to a secure, vital munitions depot at Earle?

It is time for the Navy to step up and do the right thing - void or buy out the contract. It is not the towns', nor the state's, responsibility to pay for the federal government's obvious missteps.


Anonymous said...

Colts Neck and TF doesn't like the plan.
Colts Neck is rich.
Colts Neck should give developer money to go away.

Bill Holobowski said...

Anonymous, this is not a socioeconomic or "class" battle. NO ONE likes this plan, not ever the people who work at the base. Go and ask one off the record just how they feel about patrolling 300 houses of civilians. NJ taxpayers at large (and residents of Colts Neck and Tinton Falls in particular) should not have to foot 1 cent of what will amount to a $300 million-$500 million unfunded mandate if the housing plan goes through.